Pon­toon restora­tion set to power ahead

Whitsunday Times - - LIFE -

“WHAT Cy­clone?”

These are the words which should be on the lips of tourists and boat op­er­a­tors as they en­ter the Whit­sun­days and Abell Point Ma­rina with the win­ter sea­son set to fire up.

While 100 Abell Point ma­rina berths were af­fected by the cat­e­gory 4 sys­tem, the plan to re­store all berths is on track for com­ple­tion in July, well ahead of sched­ule, ac­cord­ing to Abell Point ma­rina gen­eral man­ager Luke McCaul.

“We’ve to­tally taken away and de­mol­ished the 100 berths that were af­fected,” he said.

“Ev­ery­thing has been taken away and the barges are go­ing back to Townsville where they will start to bring down the piles and start pil­ing within two weeks time.

“That’s an­other great thing be­cause so many other mari­nas in the re­gion are still look­ing at their re­cov­ery plans but we are ready to start re­con­struct­ing.”

This fol­lows the suc­cess­ful in­stal­la­tion of the ma­rina walk­way which was also two weeks ahead of sched­ule.

Mr McCaul said ini­tial con­cerns about busi­ness dur­ing the win­ter sea­son had been re­solved and op­er­a­tors and tourists would no­tice the Whit­sun­days was still stand­ing strong.

“By the end of May we will start to put the main arms of the vil­lage (H,K and J arm) which is the feeder for most com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors,” he said.

“And by mid-July we will have 100 berths to­tally re­placed which gives us the abil­ity for com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors to go back to nor­mal.

“To have those berths back in ac­tion is cru­cial for us, it saves this sea­son but also saves the next cou­ple of sea­sons (go­ing for­ward).

This fol­lows the suc­cess­ful in­stal­la­tion of the new ma­rina walk­way two weeks ahead of sched­ule.

Mr McCaul said hav­ing op­er­a­tions up and run­ning in time for peak sea­sons was cru­cial in terms of stim­u­lat­ing the lo­cal econ­omy.

“Ev­ery berth is like a room in a ho­tel, they bring peo­ple and when you are to­tally full with 500 boats you are talk­ing about a 2000 peo­ple ho­tel here,” he said.

“If we aren’t ready to ac­cept those book­ings then 2000 peo­ple aren’t go­ing to go into town and have din­ner and have a beer or have their hair done or go down to the bak­ery.

“We know there are still a few busi­nesses re­cov­er­ing along the Main Street, so if we can in­ject them as part of our busi­ness that’s good.”

Over 500 berth sites will be avail­able at Abell Point Ma­rina ca­ter­ing for ves­sels rang­ing be­tween 12-60 me­tres.

PHOTO: HD-XPOSURE

ON TRACK: Abell Point Ma­rina is set to have all pon­toon berths ready by mid July.

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